Leg 1-2001: Gothenburg, Sweden; Tromso, Norway
May 15, 2001 1145 57.42N, 11.57E Log:41,767 Baro: 1005
Moored in front of Gothenburg Opera House In just 15 minutes
our first sailing leg of our 12th season starts! For the past
2.5 weeks we have been getting Mahina Tiare ready for her longest
season ever, from May 15, 2001 here in Gothenburg, ending February
15th, 2002 in lovely Hilo, Hawaii.
Varnish is done, the sun is out
and Mahina Tiare is ready for more sailing fun!
We had excellent help from the busy crew at Hallberg-Rassy,
and arrived back in Ellos to find MT already painted, waxed,
rigged and launched. Vickie Vance (Leg 1-1991) owner of HR Parts
and Accessories helped us track down the last little spare and
replacement parts, and for that we owe her a big thanks!
Our final day at the Hallberg
Rassy boatyard in Ellos, Sweden.
Mahina Tiare is sparkling and ready for adventure.
We also want to thank Roland Olsson and Magnus Rassy for organizing
our haulout and winter storage and Bo and his ever-friendly and
helpful crew for helping us sort out our recommissioning.
H-R Parts and Accessories crew:
Anette, Vickie Vance and Eva helped us find parts for Mahina
Tiare in Ellos.
Some of Hallberg Rassy's crew enjoying a sunny lunch break after
a long, cold winter.
The 45 mile sail south from Ellos to Gothenburg was in HOT
sunny weather (hard to believe it snowed the week before we arrived!)
past dozens of postcard-perfect little Swedish villages on coastal
One of many picturesque Swedish villages we passed en route from
Ellos to Gothenburg.
Lars and Susanne and their kids Elanor and Daniel (Leg 10-98)
met us with their fishing charter boat at Marstrand and let us
tie to their dock for the past few days in Hjuvik, downriver
Lars, Susanne, Daniel and Elanor
Johansson Leg 9-98 expedition members Hosting us at Gothenburg.
Amanda teaching Elanor a Maori Poi dance in Hjuvik.
It's been a little cool and hazy, but this morning the sun
is beaming through and it looks like we have a great forecast
to blast directly offshore to Norway.
I'd better go up and greet the crew as it's nearly noon and
they are pacing the dock, eager to join us! We look forward to
sharing this year of adventure with you.
Tania and Marcel Legs 8-98 and
4-99 enjoying their first night aboard Alegria, their new HR
After many years of hard work in Oman, Tania and Marcel christened
and plan to cross the Atlantic the same time we do.
Leg 1 May 21,2001 0200 62.21N, 05.22E
Log: 42317 Baro:1019
Winds: SW 30-39kts Depth: 150' Seas:
Tearing Through Twilight!
We are ripping along on a broad reach, two reefs in the main,
three in the jib. Floro Radio keeps announcing gale warnings,
as if we needed a reminder!
This morning we left the tiny bulletproof anchorage of Vikingsvagen
with a cloudless sky and glass seas. Cliff worked from 2200 until
0400 charting a tortuous route with over 40 waypoints, sliding
past some of Norway's spectacular fjords. However, when we crossed
Sognfjord entrance we looked out to sea and saw wind. This sparked
an idea to sail 140 miles along the coast to Alesund instead
of motoring many twisting and turning miles inside the channels.
Our goal is to utilize every sailing opportunity and the weatherfax
charts from Germany showing following winds preceding a cold
front cemented our decision.
Leg 1 - 2001 crew ready to sail
north from Gothenburg.
In the early afternoon we joked about in ideal sailing conditions,
broad reaching in 15kts, but the wind kept increasing until grins
and rain blew about in the 30's and twightlight was a steel grey
The expedition has been flying by - we've already sailed 540
miles since leaving Gothenburg. We always ask our expedition
members what skills they most want to work on, and 4 out of 6
Leg 1 crew mentioned heavy weather. They didn't have to wait
long! We set sail Wed. morn from Hjuvik on a broad reach. By
early afternoon we passed the northern tip of Denmark and the
wind, seas and traffic kept building until by 2300 we had 32kts,
steep short seas that the Kattegut is famous for, and 8 ships
within the 3 mile range on radar.
With following winds we rounded the southern cape of Norway
and sailed north, passing Stavanger, before stopping on Friday
at Bergen, Norway's second largest city. We rafted to Bor, an
80' traditional gaff schooner for two nights while crew explored
town. The harbormaster came by to collect fees (only $8US equivalent
for two nights) and spent an hour marking our charts. As we were
missing a few charts, he dropped us at the chart agent in town
who had every charts we needed in stock, at only $15US each!
Bergen, Norway harbor
Buying the lasy of our charts in Bergen, Norway.
Hey, I've gotta run, we're now in a channel heading for Alesund
and Elizabeth and Amanda are trying to identify lights of the
bridge we have to sail under.
May 25, 2001 2020 63.30N, 09.07E Log: 42,470 Baro: 1020
We made Alesund by 0700 and enjoyed a quiet night tied up
in the center of this attractive art-nouveau influenced city.
We met a lively British couple on a Nauticat 35, also sailing
to Spitsbergen and had a Dutch couple on an older Huisman sloop
rafted up to us. It was exciting to be exchanging chart and weather
info with boats headed the same way!
The delightful town of Alesund from Aksla
Sliding past Norway's spectacular fjords.
The following morning we had a blistering downwind sail, gybing
our way down twisting fjords with winds touching 40kts, and just
a bit of sleet! The weatherfax charts from Germany showed another
cold front about to roar through, so we sailed hard, reaching
the tiny fishing village of Bud at 1530. Like so many Norwegian
villages, Bud has a visitors float with an honesty box, $7US
equivalent for moorage, including water & garbage. Ashore
we explored the remains of the German WWII fort and went for
long walks and runs yesterday as we were stormbound with 45+
knot winds and breaking seas offshore.
This morning the winds and seas had diminished, so we sailed
north, with a brief look around Kristiansted. We will have covered
nearly 90 miles by the time we stop in Kongsvoll. Our goal is
to get up to the Lofoten Islands relatively quickly so that we
can have several days to explore this isolated and dramatic offshore
Here's our Leg 1 crew:
Elizabeth Peter, 51
is a doc who lives near Vancouver, BC where she and her husband
David are preparing their Fast Passage 39 for a voyage to the
South Pacific this fall.
Sheryl Howard, 46 is an
engineer at Lockheed in San Jose, a pilot and sailed a new HR
39 from Sweden to Florida last summer. She sails her Cape Dory
30 on San Francisco Bay.
Tim Whitlock, 52 works
for Timberjack, a division of John Deere in Ontario and sails
his CS 22 on Lake Huron.
John Fink, 46 is a neurologist
from Ann Arbor, Michigan and enjoys sharing sailing 470's with
his 6, 10 and 12 year olds and his wife Cindy.
Henry Sharpe, 57 recently
retired from being a strategic advisor for the mayor and city
council of Seattle. He enjoys singlehanding his Alberg 30 out
of Bainbridge Island and recently returned from a four month
advisory position with the Vietnamese government.
Cliff Wood, 46 a software
engineer from Caldwell, Idaho enjoys flying his Maule aircraft
into backcountry mountain airstrips.
Leg 1 2001 May 3
Tromso 69.38N 18.47 E Baro 1003
We have arrived in the trendy university town of Tromso and Leg
1 is drawing to a close with crew members packing bags for further
destinations and adventures to Spitsbergen, Finmark and warmer
European cities before heading home. This 3 week 1,300 mile expedition
has been a delight and the following is a summary of the highlights
we experienced since leaving Bud and general cruising information.
Louvund Island May 28, 66.22N
12.22E The last 3 days we have sailed 240 miles, coastal
and offshore ,to just below the Arctic Circle. Lovund's steep
mountain is home to 200,000 puffins who return in the summer
months to nest. We enjoyed a pleasant midnight sun evening high
on the hill viewing hundreds of comic little puffins coming home
for the night.
Puffin watching in the midnight sun on
Svartisen Glacier May 29, 66.42N 13.37E Svartisen
is Norways second largest icecap and it seemed only fitting that
we should celebrate our Arctic Circle crossing with a glacial
evening hike up the ice tongue that licked the grassy lowland.
The following morning saw arctic initiation swims in the shadow
of the glacier from hardy crew and a showy photo opportunity.
Ghosting past Svartisen Glacier.
Lofoten Islands June 1, 68.13N 14.34E After a
short supply stop in the working harbor town of Bodo we jumped
off across the Vestfjorden for the Loften Wall, a 70 mile expanse
of jagged glacier carved peaks stretching along the Lofoten archipelago. We
spent a windless crossing practicing celestial navigation and
rope work while watching the snowy wall loom closer and arrived
to the sight of small fishing villages and grassy farms fringing
the towering peaks like the brim of a sombrero.
The fishing town of Henningsvaer nestled
under the Lofoten wall
The trendy fishing town Hennsingsvaer was our first stop
and interesting galleries and scenic walks alongside the harbor
and open-air cod drying racks gave us a window into the islands
charms. Time stands still and locals go about their traditional
fishing, farming and home activities around the clock. Sailing
a few miles further north to the main town of Svolvaer, the tempo
changed to a town alive and bustling with its annual international
blues festival, though entertainment was $25 a venue na dstarted
Troll searching in Trollfjorden, Lofotens.
As a farewell we cruised the Trollfjorden, dramatically
narrow and deep with glistening snowy mountains and extensive
waterfalls, before sailing the last 150 miles inside scenic Senja
Island to Tromso.
Leg 1 crew learn the ropes.
Tromso June 11 We've
enjoyed exploring this attractive Arctic city with it's accommodating
guest harbor in the middle of town. If I were asked to give it
a sister city I would say Hobart, Tasmania with a lot more snow.
Cafe's galleries, outdoor markets, museums, pubs and parks spread
along the waterfront and the tourist office is more then helpful
for extra imquires for places to visit and boat projects to complete.
As a university town and leaping off spot for Spitsbergen,
a 1 1/2 hour flight away, Tromso has an energy akin to Ushuaia
in South America and people are out and about viewing the sights
at all hours. John and I have prepped Mahina Tiare and we
are now enjoying a free week of museums, Spitsbergen education,
fellow cruisiers, staying fit in the local pool ( though
they only do breaststroke) and catching cod...I'm getting pretty
good at it. Weather Perfect...chilly but perfect.
For the month of May the barometer has remained relatively steady
in the mid 1004 range and weather systems have passed at a predictable
pace. The best weatherfax information comes from Germany twice
a day and is easily interpreted. We experienced no fog and have
had light winds from the south since leaving Bud.
Charts and Cruising Guides The Norwegian Cruising
Guide by John Armitage provides invaluable advice information
for over 500 anchorages and harbors. The Norwegian Pilot, Den
Norske Los are available in 7 volumes, though 4-6 do not have
English text, only Norwegian. These excellent publications with
color areal photo's and harbor plans but cost $40 each. Norwegian
Charts cost $15 each, are of superb quality and available
in most city bookstores. The 100 series provides terrific coverage
at 1:50 000 and we have a total of 70 charts for coastal Norway
with a few large scale charts for overall trip planning. Electronic
Charting proved to be extremely limited and expensive and
with coverage only in the south to Alesund.
Norwegian Sailing Directions and Cruising
Navigation You need take a few minutes to familiarize
yourself with the Norwegian buoyage system Towers or cairns,
made of stones and rock piles, some containing pointing arms,
are the oldest system of navigation aids while beacons, perches,
sector lights, cardinal marks and buoys total 13,000 adding to
at first an impossible confusing route in narrow channels. Bridges
and power cables are numerous and heights are only noted on the
Moorage We've been amazed at how populated Norway is and
in our voyage north we have not spent one night where there has
been fewer than 5 cabins ashore. Small harbors with guest pontoons
are frequent in even the smallest town while cities have additional
facilities. Dockside fees have averaged $8 per night while showers
($2 ) and laundry ($6 wash and dry) are available with a
key deposit. Be warned that washing machines and dryers tend
to take 2 hours per session.
Provisioning and Fuel Grocery stores contain great
supplies at about 25% more than the U.S and fuel at approximately
$2.50 U.S is available in large towns. Foreign credit cards are
often not accepted at many supermarkets and fueling stations
but ATM machines abound.
Katarina and Per Magnus of Polar
Quest going over charts of Spitsbergen with us.